BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN—THOUSANDS of youths from oil producing communities in Edo State, yesterday, grounded activities at the Benin Airport for three hours, protesting delay in the appointment of Edo State Commissioner into the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The youths threatened to shut down all oil wells in the state if the President failed to appoint a commissioner representing the state on the board of the commission in the next one week.
The youths had last month issued a 21-day ultimatum to the President to appoint an NDDC Commissioner in the state or face the wrath of people in the oil producing communities.
Yesterday’s protest disrupted activities at the Benin Airport after the youths blocked the exit gates, sending passengers back thereby creating tension on Airport Road.
Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr. Foluso Adebanjo, doused the tension when he appealed to the youths to allow people move into the airport. The protesting youths dispersed at 11a.m., after the intervention of the Police.
Mr. Iyamu Culture, who spoke to newsmen, said the protest followed expiration of the 21 days ultimatum issued to the President to appoint an NDDC commissioner for the state.
He said: “We are protesting because the situation is affecting youth development in Edo State. As we speak, the NDDC has resolved to empower youths in all the nine Niger Delta states. With the non-appointment of Edo State NDDC Commissioner, Edo youths might not benefit from that. Projects have also been put on hold in the state due to the non-appointment of a commissioner. We are urging Mr President to act by appointing a substantive commissioner from any quarters as long as the person is from an oil producing community.”